Young, healthy California residents sometimes have a hard time seeing the need for an estate plan or a health care directive. The truth is that you have no idea what the future holds and it is beneficial to be prepared for anything, especially if you have a family or children who rely on you. One part of an estate plan is a health care directive, and UCI Health provides some clear benefits to creating one.

Millions of Americans include a health care directive in their medical records. These directives are embraced by retiree organizations, hospice professionals, attorneys and health care professionals alike. The directive allows you to choose, while you are healthy and mentally sound, a close friend or family member who will speak for you when you are unable to speak for yourself. If you are incapacitated and cannot make decisions about your medical care, this person is given the legal right to do so with a health care directive.

This choice can benefit your family in many ways. It provides peace of mind and gives them confidence that you are receiving the treatment you want, minimizes their stress and reduces the potential of family members to fight over what your treatment plan should be.

A health care directive can benefit you and help you avoid unwanted hospitalization, unhelpful procedures and unnecessary pain. You can tell a doctor what you do and do not want through a health care directive long before you need the care.

Health care directives can determine if you want to remain on life support, which medical treatments you are okay with if you are injured and the type of comfort care you want if you become ill. You take the pressure off your family and get peace of mind with a health care directive.

This is for educational purposes and should not be interpreted as legal advice.